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Sebastian Faulks: Beyond James Bond

March 31, 2010 | 11:08 am

British author Sebastian Faulks, perhaps best known in the U.S. for his official, popular channeling of Ian Fleming in his James Bond update "Devil May Care," is back doing his own, non-Bond thing. In today's paper, Tim Rutten reviews "A Week in December":

The plot unwinds across seven days before Christmas 2007. A newly elected member of Parliament's ambitious wife, Sophie Topping, is planning an elaborate holiday dinner party to advance his career. Over the next seven days, Faulks follows several major characters who either are among the invited guests or whose lives intersect with theirs in some crucial way....

Not all these characters are as well-developed as one might wish, but Faulks -- who began as a feature writer for the Daily and Sunday Telegraph and moved on to become literary editor of the Independent -- has a reporter's keen eye for telling details and a propulsive mastery of narrative that takes full advantage of a structure that, in hands less sure, might come across as a trifle too pat.

"A Week in December," which has already been a bestseller in England, is being adapted for a 2011 four-part serial for the country's Channel 4.

-- Carolyn Kellogg

Photo: Piccadilly in London, decorated for the holidays. Credit: Sami Keinänen via Flickr